Why do you need to learn Swedish words for the office? Well, are you looking for a job in Sweden? Or, are you already working in a Swedish office? In that case, just knowing 10 simple words or phrases in Swedish might make all the difference for your experience in a Swedish workplace. Rebecca from SweTeach helps you navigate life as a Swedish office worker. Check out the word list below of Swedish words to know in the office.
This post is written by Rebecca Andersson, an experienced Swedish teacher and co founder of SweTeach, language coaching for newcomers.
En fika (noun) att fika, fikar (verb)
No Swedish word list can exist without including the word fika. In the office, fika can refer to several different things. If you grab a cup of coffee and take it back to your desk, it is not considered fika. A fika has to involve either a sweet treat or a social gathering, both in the best case.
Fredagsfika might be the most popular type of fika. A Friday fika is a weekly gathering at the workplace, usually on Friday afternoons. Some companies have a fika list where someone has to bring in fika for the whole team each week.
En matlåda (noun)
In Sweden, many people bring their own lunch box or matlåda to work. This plastic, glass, or metal container often includes popular everyday dishes (husmanskost) such as Spaghetti och köttfärssås, Korv stroganoff, or Köttbullar och potatismos.
Whether to heat up the food in your lunch box or put it on a plate first is up to you. But, if you would like to be popular among your colleagues, I would advise you to avoid fish. It leaves an awful smell behind after re-heating!
En after-work/AW (noun)
Wait a minute, is this not English? You are right, but only partially. The words are English, but the expression is Swedish. An After Work or AW is a social gathering with friends or colleagues where you enjoy a drink and possibly some food together after a working day. An AW often starts around 4 or 5 pm and lasts a few hours.
The concept is popular in Sweden and you will see plenty of offers on drinks and food similar to a Happy hour. Some bars also offer activities such as darts, boule, shuffleboard, or a pub quiz.
En lönehelg (noun)
An AW often kicks off a lönehelg. The word translates to ‘pay weekend’ and is often used as an excuse to spend a little extra when you have just received your salary. Most Swedes get paid on the 25th of every month and the preceding Friday if that date occurs on the weekend. This makes Friday the most common payday, which is why lönefredag is also a thing.
Since most people in Sweden get paid on the same day, a lönehelg often means a busy weekend for shops, restaurants, and bars. Do not forget to book a table if you plan to dine out on the 25th!
Ett möte (noun)
The Swedish meeting culture is famous, or infamous, even outside of Sweden. There are plenty of different meetings to choose from; breakfast meetings, briefings, lunch sessions, team meetings, evaluation meetings etc.
An essential part of the Swedish meeting culture is reaching konsensus. Everyone should contribute to the discussion and agree on a decision. This can take quite some time, and you often have to parkera or ‘park’ issues and schedule a new meeting to continue the discussion.
Ett friskvårdsbidrag (noun)
Fitness and well-being are hot topics in Sweden gyms are to be found everywhere. Many companies provide a friskvårdsbidrag, which is financial support that you can use to pay for a gym card, massage, or membership in a sports association.
Some employers also allow you to exercise during work hours or organise weekly group exercises for you and your colleagues. In Sweden, the question is not if you work out or not, but what you do for exercise and how often.
Att vabba, vabbar (verb)
Even though many Swedes are interested in health, people get sick here just like everywhere else. When you stay home from work with sick children, you get reimbursed by Försäkringskassan for up to 80 percent of your salary for a maximum of 120 days per year. This system is called VAB, and the word is so frequently used that it was made into a verb. At a Swedish workplace, you can get a message from your colleague stating Jag vabbar idag, which means that the person will be off work due to taking care of sick children.
In the winter, people tend to get sick more than during the rest of the year. This is why Swedes sometimes speak about the month of February as vabruari, the month of VAB.
Att tidrapportera, tidrapporterar (verb)
Many people in Sweden are working from home nowadays. This has made it more crucial than ever to report your work hours or tidrapportera, as you say in Swedish.
In Swedish offices, it is common to have flexible hours or flextid. This means you do not have to start or finish your workday at any specific time as long as you do your hours. If you work more than you should, you can save hours that you can use for vacation later in the year.
Speaking of holidays, every person working in Sweden has a lawful right to vacation or semester in Swedish, confusingly enough. A full-time worker has a minimum of 25 paid vacation days to spend during the year and has the right to schedule four cohesive weeks of vacation between June and August.
Since people in Sweden tend to spend most of their vacation during the summer period, the word semester is closely linked to the summer holidays. If you take time off during other seasons, you can use the word ledighet, which translates to ‘leave’.
En röd dag
In addition to your vacation days, most office workers are also off work on public holidays. These days are referred to as röda dagar, ‘red days’ since they are marked with red in the calendar. In Sweden, there are about 15 such days per year.
If you want to maximise your days off work, it is all about combining your vacation days with public holidays. Every year, many magazines and Unions publish guides on how to get the most out of the vacation year.
We hope you learned a thing or two from this list. If you are looking to learn more Swedish, you can get started with the online course Swedish for Beginners. It is a self paced, self taught digital course that you can take from anywhere at anytime and at your own space. And it is very reasonably priced if we may say so ourselves 🙂 Good luck!